Another deep freeze is on the way
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org January 26, 2014 8:44PM
The plummeting temperatures kept people away from Lake Street Beach in Gary on Sunday. | Christin Nance Lazerus/Post-Tribune
Wind chills lower than 40 below forecast around the state, page 24
Updated: February 28, 2014 6:37AM
Northwest Indiana settled into a deep freeze late Sunday that is expected to produce icy roads and dangerously cold temperatures through Wednesday.
Blowing snow and a forecast high temperature of -3 degrees F on Monday will make travel and being outside treacherous, and wind chills could reach -35 to -40. Tuesday’s high is predicted to be zero, with temperatures expected to rise only into the teens by Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.
“Even though it’s quote-unquote ‘dry weather,’ we can expect arctic temperatures and wind chills,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Nelson.
Indiana State Police recommended that Monday-morning commuters leave earlier and use extra caution. Winds are expected to reach 35 to 40 mph with white-out conditions possible.
Police said travelers can avoid hazardous road conditions by staying off the interstates and taking alternate routes. Travelers should have a full gas tank, blankets, food and water inside the car. In addition, they should dress warmly, charge all cell phones and expect long delays.
Most Northwestern Indiana schools districts are closed Monday, except for the School Town of Munster, which announced a two-hour delay.
Valparaiso University canceled classes for Monday and Tuesday. Indiana University Northwest also canceled classes and campus-wide operations for the Gary and Portage campuses on Monday.
With polar vortexes and storms bringing several feet of snow, strong winds and subzero temperatures, it’s been a particularly cold winter.
Between Dec. 1 and Jan. 25, the National Weather Service said, the average temperature was 20.3 degrees this season, which places it as the 13th-coldest winter since 1872. Meteorological winter runs from December through February.
Meteorologists at the National Weather Service said the extended cold and voluminous snow is due to a couple of factors.
“A ridge of high pressure is around the west coast and it moved up to Alaska, so that a lot of places there are warmer than us right now,” said Nelson, NWS Chicago’s observation program leader. “That caused a buckle in the jet steam that has kept us on a conveyor belt, bringing cold and snow consistently.”
In temperatures this low, frostbite and hypothermia can occur in a matter of minutes if precautions aren’t taken. Wear loose-fitting layers of clothing plus a hat and mittens or gloves. According to the NWS, it takes between 10 to 30 minutes for frostbite to set in the forecast temperature and wind speed range. Symptoms of frostbite include a loss of feeling in the extremities and a white or pale appearance. Warning signs for hypothermia, or body temperature below 95 degrees, include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion.
Medical attention is needed immediately in both cases.
Passengers on the South Shore commuter trains in should expect weather-related delays on trains between Michigan City and Chicago early this week, the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District said.
NICTD will operate South Shore train service between Michigan City and Chicago. Passengers will be bused between South Bend and Michigan City through Wednesday.